The City College of New York-CUNY
New York, N.Y.
‘Achievement gaps” and “diversity” are more than buzzwords for R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy. A scholar and activist in education, youth culture and public policy, Lewis-McCoy co-leads the Ndugu and Nzinga African Rites of Passage program for men and women in New York City, which has worked to promote knowledge about African traditions, culture, ceremonies and symbols for more than 20 years. He also volunteers with other organizations, including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and 16 Days Against Gender Violence at CCNY. He explains his activism, quoting historian and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois, “I began to realize that I had overworked a theory — that the cause of the problem was the ignorance of people….[T]he cure wasn’t simply telling people the truth, it was inducing them to act on the truth.”
Lewis-McCoy’s influence extends to his students at The City College of New York (City University of New York), where he is an associate professor of sociology and Black studies. Lewis-McCoy has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehouse College, and a master’s in sociology and doctorate in public policy and sociology from University of Michigan.
A firm believer in the power of writing, Lewis-McCoy authored the book, Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources and Suburban Schooling, published by Stanford University Press in 2014, and writes regularly for online publications such as Ebony magazine, The Root and Gawker, on topics ranging from education to police brutality. “My traditional job as a professor requires that I primarily write for academic purposes, yet I also do a great deal of writing and outreach for non-academic outlets that isn’t rewarded in my field,” says Lewis-McCoy. “But it’s a part of my life’s calling to reach as many people as possible. I’m here to ensure that my calling serves an even greater purpose than my vocation.”